V/A - "Visions of the Apocalypse"
By Marcus Pan
My main attention grabber for this compilation was the appearance
of Circle Of Dust, a band that my friend Kim used to make me listen to all the
time. I was pretty surprised to find them here, on a CD that features
"Unreleased Gothic/Industrial." But pleased I was nonetheless. Additionally,
this compilation is to "introduce to you the Gothic/Industrial scene on the
East Coast of the United States." Being on that particular side of the states,
I was rather pleased with this as you can expect.
I have a few quirks with the compilation as a whole however.
First off, what's up with the cover shot that, as far as I can tell, shows some
guy giving a knight in armor a blowjob? And then some Buddy Holly looking fella
enjoying the show? Wassup with that?
Secondly, the music itself doesn't seem to fit. The songs
don't mesh together well. An example of a compilation with well-chosen songs
and appearances is the Detroit Electronica Coalition's D[electronic]T.
On there, while the musical styles would go from industrial to ambient to
techno, they still fit together like a puzzle. Here the songs are thrown in
helter skelter and they don't have this fitting-together sound. Kind of like a
really bad DJ doing a messed up set - "And now following that awesome block by
here are the Spice Girls with their latest hit!" Sure, that's an
extreme example - but the analogy does explain what I mean.
Kado is the label responsible for this compilation. There's
no band contact information for anybody that appears here, so I had to do it
all myself. Warning to bands - make sure the label putting out the compilation
you are appearing on is sure to provide at least SOME contact information so
people like me who like what they hear can tell you that. Otherwise it's dead
advertising - a ghost in the CD player.
Now on with the track-by-track blathering. In all cases, I
did everything I could to find web sites and other contact information for all
bands that appear here - since Kado wasn't willing to do it for me which they
should have (BAD Kado
BAD!). But if there is no contact information
provided for any of the appearing bands I'm going to talk about here, that's
not my fault. So on with the blither blather
Contact Information: Kado
International, 460 Ridgedale Ave., East Hanover, NJ, 07936
#1 - Ethico by OutOut
industrial delivered with attitude and panache, OutOut is based out of
Northampton, Massachusetts. Currently on the well known Metropolis label, Mark
Alan Miller, the brains of OutOut, has four albums available - Voiceprint,
Nisus, Finched and Pepperbox Muzzle. Ethico is a very heavy
industrial and follows the standard format for this style - thrashy guitars,
background white noise, vox-ridden vocals.
Contact Information: OutOut
#2 - Words From Nothing by National Razor
Keeping with the industrial thrashy guitars, but adding in more distortion
than you can shake your stick at, National Razor's Words From Nothing is
done with more style. The drums are interesting and quirky. The super-distorted
guitar takes away from the track's control and throws in a healthy dose of
chaos - this could be good or bad depending on where you stand. The vocals are
more humanistic. Currently, National Razor have two full length releases
available: Shiver and Stem of Thorns.
Contact Information: National Razor
#3 - Crescent and the Star by Sunshine Blind
A band that needs no introduction, Sunshine Blind have come far in the past
few years. I first discovered them myself when they were cut from the Dark
Harvest III bill by Andrew Eldritch of SoM a few years ago - not a good way to
discover a band. But I've enjoyed their work since. Crescent and the
Star is a good darkwave-rock song with a folky feel to it. However it
doesn't seem to fit on this compilation following two heavy industrial acts.
They don't list this appearance on their website either. Not surprising.
Contact Information: Sunshine Blind
Post: Energy Records, 545 8th Ave. 17th floor, New York NY 10018
#4 - Excursions In Stars by Loretta's Doll
Ok, first we went from heavy industrial to darkwave. Now where going from
a poetry reading? What the FUCK?! A tumbling beat and an
annoying, sliding bass make up this track along with Bryin Dall's chanting
poem. I could have done without it. I haven't heard any other work by Loretta's
Doll previous to Excursions In Stars, but I'm hoping very hard this isn't
reflective of their standard sound.
Contact Information: Loretta's Doll
Couldn't find any - however their name in Yahoo will pull up a few reviews,
interviews and other rhetoric.
#5 - Parasite by Circle of Dust
Dust contribute a complicated song. A lot of elements make up Parasite.
You can hear the techno synthwork, the industrial/metal guitars and even what
sounds like live drums. The vocalists, as there are either more than one person
or one guy really getting happy with the track mixer, are well done and mesh
with the music. None of the separate elements of Parasite stand out - instead
they blend together into a well done arrangement of sounds.
Contact Information: Circle of Dust
#6 - Head of Lenin by Digital Poodle
technoish rhythm with a bit of sampling (gunshots, screams, etc.) and strong
metal-tinged keyboards, Head of Lenin is, well, interesting. I was
expecting a Russian sound - I dunno, something from Tetris I guess - given the
track name. Vocals are highly voxed and robotic. Some Kraftwerkian
computeresque synthwork comes in later adding to the track. Somewhat known and
held on the Metropolis label, Digital Poodle are from Toronto. Which begs me to
ask - what about the whole "East Coast of the United States" thing, Bobby?
Contact Information: Digital Poodle
#7 - Kun De Profundis by Sleep Chamber
Again we lose the coherency of music on Visions of the Apocalypse
and go into a deep, ethereal sounding track from Sleep Chamber. Kun De
Profundis is a simplistic song with tribal drums and a somewhat ethereal
keyboard occasionally playing a few chords in the back. The other main
ingredient is the chanting male vocals similar in style to the Loretta's Doll
track also on this compilation. I'm not impressed.
Contact Information: Sleep Chamber
Couldn't find a site for them.
#8 - Rainworld by Requiem In White
the name of the track I was expecting another ethereal nuisance. Instead I was
greeted by a heavy metal sounding guitar riff and the bass hits that help kick
off the introduction to Rainworld. The guitars become more
darkwavish-rock oriented later - but the introduction is definitely done with a
glam-metal flair. I'm not saying this is a bad thing - I wore denim once too.
The female vocalist of Requiem In White holds a tune well and is quite strong
vocally, but the blaring darkwave guitars overshadow her too much.
Contact Information: Requiem In White
NOTE: This is
an "unofficial site." I couldn't find anything else.
#9 - Anastasia by Vein Cage
Vein Cage is a
side project that involves OutOut's Mark Alan Miller. A typical drum beat opens
up to trashy guitars. The bass is in the background, but is strummed loud
enough that it kind of stands above the other guitar mish mash except for the
times the guitars do the high-pitched whiny thing. The vocals are, again,
highly tainted with effects.
Contact Information: Vein Cage
link from the OutOut site doesn't work.
#10 - I Have Sinned by Martyr
guitar, heavy bass, white noise, robotic-fart vocals. Industrial at
blandest? Most typical? Standard? You decide. I always assume that if
the vocals are this fried in the effects gear that they're not understandable,
they probably didn't have anything cool to say anyway.
Contact Information: Martyr
"martyr" pulls up so many hits in Yahoo that I'm not even going to bother.
Besides, I'm kind of hoping they're not recording anymore.
#11 - The Temple by Golden Dawn
chanty vocals and a constant strumming bass, The Temple is a blend of
poetry, ethereal keyboard squealies and probably one of the most monodromic
drum beats and bass lines I've heard. The vocalist is SO
somebody do him a favor and inject some absinthe into him. I
can't do it - I fell asleep.
Contact Information: Golden Dawn
could find with these key words was a bunch of magic circles and pagan pages.
#12 - Misanthrope by Argyle Park
band I could find on the web that doesn't have a name that pulls up twelve
billion pounds of rhetoric. Of course, trying to hit the site that shows up as
"Entertainment > Music > Artists > By Genre > Industrial >
Industrial Rock > Argyle Park" gives me an error. Fucking figures. Argyle
Park is another industrial act. They really get into the movie sample thing,
sticking in various yells and pissed off quotes. Vocals are more whisper-growl
like than robotic - when they show up. This could be any of the other
industrial bands featured on Visions of the Apocalypse. Typical.
Contact Information: Argyle Park
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